Located within the stunning and lush mountains of Palawan’s main island, El Nido has been rated one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. Forget crowded resorts in tourist cities, and escape to tranquil and awe-inspiring El Nido instead. With 45 islands and islets that harbor some of the country’s best white sand beaches, hidden lagoons, picturesque cliffs and rich marine life underneath its Earth, El Nido is indeed a piece of paradise. The town is a managed and resource protected area of Palawan, 238 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. Contrary to common notion that El Nido is an expensive destination, the place is in fact, can be explored on a budget. With plenty of budget accommodations lined up on the streets of the town and lots of tour groups offering cheap packages, El Nido is another backpacker’s haven.
Why You Should visit Nacpan Beack El Nido Philippines
What makes El Nido so great is its natural beauty and the fact that it is largely untouched. A protected area, the beauty of the area is visible the moment you arrive. It is definitely one of the hidden gems of Southeast Asia! Large limestone cliffs tower above you, a fact I did not fully realise until late on our first night when I glanced out the window and saw what looked like a massive wall in the distance. Even at night and only partially visible it was an incredible sight.
Weather (When to Go)
El Nido is best seen during the months of November to May. In the first half of this period, cool northeast winds complement the sunny skies, allowing you to explore the islands in comfort. As the summer months of March and May set in, the heat turns up as well; bring enough sunscreen to protect yourself. All throughout these months (El Nido’s high tourist season), the sea is relatively calm, and underwater visibility is good, about ten to thirty feet. The southwest monsoon from June to November brings the rainy season and reduced travel traffic. While prices for all resorts and facilities are lower during the rainy season, the weather is less cooperative: seas are choppy and the unpaved roads become muddier and more difficult to travel on.
Getting to El Nido
Air Swift has daily flights to Manila, Caticlan, Cebu and Clark. Air Swift and the airport are both owned by El Nido Resorts, and guests of that company’s resorts have priority on the flights, although there is usually plenty of room for outsiders. Many people heading to El Nido take a cheaper flight to Puerto Princesa, then drive north five hours by van. The newly opened airport in San Vicente will potentially cut that van trip in half, but there are no commercial flights as of yet.
A free 30-day visa is issued on arrival for most nationalities. You can extend, for a fee, in major provincial centers, or extend upon arrival at the airport. Be prepared to show the airline at your point of departure to the Philippines a ticket for onward travel. If you don’t have one, most airlines make you buy one on the spot.
Getting Around El Nido
El Nido local transportation is limited to the jeepney, but more commonly the tricycle (a motorcycle with a covered sidecar attached). If you want to travel further out, jeepneys provide town-to-town transport. Motorized vehicles can be hired from local providers; motorbikes are a preferred mode of transport, as they can easily handle the area’s steeply-inclined dirt trails. Renting a motorbike is a great way to get around the northern peninsula, however do note that the access roads to Nacpan and Duli beaches are very rough and require some off-road experience in the wet season.
Nacpan Beach is a 4-km strip of powdery paradise north of El Nido town proper. The coconut lined beach faces a small cove next to Base Bay. The stretch runs southward to meet its twin — Calitang Beach. Together, they form a cape that sticks out to the sea that can get rough without warning. A small, palm crowned, grass-covered hill marks the spot where the two ivory beaches meet. Small islands dotting the bay can also be seen clearly from the beach.
The island is an hour away from El Nido town and it’s 15 minutes away from Miniloc Island. It has a 250 meters stretch of white sand beach. There’s only a part for the public since the main beach is utilized by the El Nido Resorts. The eastern most part of Entalula Island is the only part of the island which is open for public. The beach of the island has dazzling white and powdery sand. There are many shaded areas in the island and there are even some small caves perfect for picnic lunch stopovers. The activities which you may do in the island are just the basics, swim, snorkel, take a lot of photos or just soak up the sun.
The Big and Small Lagoon’s tranquil turquoise-green waters of its orchid-lined limestone walls, showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life. Scientists believe that these lagoons were actually caves which abound in these islands. The roofs of these caves must have collapsed millions of years ago, and these lagoons have emerged in their stead. Small Lagoon is located on the cove of Miniloc Island. As you enter a small swim through hole on board a kayak or swimming through, you will see the tranquil turquoise-green waters of Small Lagoon of its orchid-lined limestone walls, a showcase a kaleidoscope of marine life. A visit to Big Lagoon is a running tour on board the outrigger boat, approaching the lagoon in the middle of karst limestone formations you are welcomed by water so clear and full of marine life. Big lagoon is a breeding ground for fishes and crsutaceans.
Simizu Island is located right between Miniloc Island on the north and Inatula Island on the south. The small beach is surrounded by towering limestone rock formations that add to the impressive and amazing experience on the island. Snorkeling is a popular activity on Simizu Island because of a large variety of marine life, especially turtles, squids, clams and different fish, which makes it one of the best snorkeling spots in El Nido. Kayaking is also great, as you will be tempted to paddle and explore the island and its vicinity with sea breeze hitting you on the face and chest.
Miniloc Island’s Secret Lagoon (also Hidden Lagoon) is actually an open secret, and a very popular one at that. Concealed behind the towering karst cliffs, the Secret Lagoon seems like a precious masterpiece that the dark limestone walls need to protect at all cost. If it’s your first time in El Nido, make sure you don’t miss this one.
Things to Do
They specialize in scuba diving courses and fun dives. They are offering two or three Fun Dives during a full day trip. The trip starts at 8am in the morning and will have two morning dives at different dive spots. Afterwards, have our lunch before proceeding to the third dive spot in the afternoon. Then return to El Nido Town around 3pm. If you would like to do only two dives you are welcome to use the time to snorkel around or just relax on the boat. For more information call +63 905 484 1764, or visit them on the web at Submariner Diving Center.
Experience the beauty of Bacuit Bay at your own pace and allow us to share with you its many secrets. Cruise in its inviting waters in peace on-board our smooth riding craft that allow you to quickly yet leisurely cruise from spot to spot. for more information call +63 917 833 6063, or visit them on the web at Skipper Charters.
Try to have an unforgettable experience with Maambeng. Explore the island without rush and crowd. Snorkel to the bed hundreds of corals and different kinds of fishes until you tired and relax to the powdered-white sand beaches. For more information call +63 946 859 7887, or visit them on the web at Maambeng Travel & Tours.
Sailing school based in El Nido, Palawan. They offer sailing course for beginner and intermediate on board small catamarans. It is also possible to visit El Nido Bay on your own, with a rental boat. For more information call +63 905 340 3755, or visit them on the web at El Nido Sailing.
They offer various of tour within Palawan. They specialize in El Nido island hopping and inland tours, private tours, sunset & overnight camping activity, underground tour & a Honda bay island hopping tour. They aim to give their clients/guests a quality service and satisfaction. “Escape completely from worries and experience the uncommon element of LEISURE” For more information call +63 917 988 0137, or visit them on the web at Dirk Travel and Tours.
Island Hopping Tours – A MUST
There are four main island hopping tours. Each one of the El Nido Tours A, B, C, D will take you on a journey to explore a specific part of the islands surrounding El Nido. You will discover beautiful and preserved islands, clear water lagoons, white sand beaches, snorkeling sites and their hundred of fishes and coral species.
Tour A This tour will fascinate you with 3 lagoons, an island with an underwater cave perfect for diving enthusiast and a beach where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the vast ocean dotted with several other islands. Here they are. Prepare to get smitten. What you will see: Big & Small Lagoons (located in 2 separate islands), Hidden Lagoon, Shimizu Island & 7 Commando Island
Tour B promises to take you to an underwater heaven and amaze you with magnificent caves. Bank for some air as they might leave you breathless. What you will see: Entatula Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Cadugnon Point & Cave, Pinasil Island & Cathedral Cave and Snake Island Bonus: Stop to a beautiful snorkeling/diving spot.
Tour C is probably the most popular of all El Nido Tours. It will take you on a journey to beautiful islands, beaches and snorkeling spots, and to an uncanny place: Matinloc Shrine. If you were to pick only one tour in El Nido, this probably would be Tour C. What you will see: Matinloc Island, Secret Beach, Hidden Beach, Tapiutan Island and Helicopter Island.
Tour D revolves mainly around the beauty of Cadlao Island, one of the nearest islands in mainland El Nido. When people say 2 heads are better than one, Cadlao Island is the exception. Alone it boast of a spectacular lagoon, white sand beaches, amazing limestone rock formation and marine sanctuary. What you will see: Cadlao Lagoon, Pasandigan Beach, Nat Nat Beach, Bucal Beach and Paradise Beach.
Best Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$ – $$$ Trattoria Altrove
This upstairs Slovenian–owned place does the best pizza in El Nido, made with imported mozzarella in the street-level brick oven. There are a dozen types of pasta from Italy, plus T-bone steak and other meat dishes on the menu. It’s very popular, so get here early (or late) during the high season to avoid a long wait. For more information call +63 917 822 9871, or visit them on the web at Trattoria Altrove.
$$ – $$$ El Nido Boutique & Art Café
The large 2nd-story dining room is a warm and relaxed place to eat, drink and get your bearings. Especially good are the salads (using lettuce and arugula from its own organic farm), home-made bread, seafood curry, pizza, pineapple upside-down cake, and chocolate and mango tarts. It has a bar and live music four nights a week. For more information call +63 920 902 6317, or visit them on the web at El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe.
Sava Beach Bar
A contemporary cocktail bar/club worthy of El Nido’s status as a rising international starlet. Cocktails are expertly made with top-notch booze, and the bar menu features some of the best food in town. Try the chimichanga or baked mussels. Top DJs set the beachfront dance floor alight as the evening wears on. For more information call +63 928 694 6743, or visit them on the web at Sava Beach Bar.
Happiness Beach Bar
The cool kid on El Nido’s main drag, diminutive Happiness features contemporary beats, top-class cocktails and hipster swings at the street-side bar. By day its vegan-friendly Middle Eastern menu (mains P200 to P350), with delicious hummus and other small plates as well as pita sandwiches, draws healthy eaters. For more information call +63 905 216 7363, or visit them on the web at Happiness Beach Bar.
Quite simply the best sunset bar. It has dangerous mojitos, groovy tunes and two-for-one San Miguel during happy hour (3pm to 5pm), plus superb pizza and fresh-baked bread. But most importantly it has that elusive sunset view, unlike many places in El Nido. For more information call +63 905 364 8534, or visit them on the web at Bella Vita.
The Beach Shack
The ubercool beach bar that makes Maremegmeg Beach (aka Las Cabanas Beach) tick. In the high season it assumes a Miami Beach vibe around sunset as it turns up the tunes and the pretty people flock to it. For more information call +63 917 577 7513, or visit them on the web at The Beach Shack.
Long the most happening place in El Nido, this reggae bar suddenly has a lot more competition and has responded by expanding. It now has two entrances – one on Hama St, one on the beach. Live reggae music and buckets of beer are what make it tick. For more information call +63 955 956 8178, or visit them on the web at Pukka Bar.
With only seven rooms situated between a pristine beach and virgin forest in an undiscovered and unexploited part of North-eastern Palawan, Qi Palawan offers a unique experience. As the only development in the immediate area, you can enjoy your own beach or explore the many nearby un-populated beaches…or if you like, venture into one of local fishing communities. This is the place to really get away and experience the real Palawan. The Qi Palawan is made for relaxation, but with plenty of activities: go swimming, paddle boarding, mountain biking, enjoy our large selection of games, take an island tour, SCUBA dive, explore the interior of the island, snorkel, do yoga, try out kite boarding during the trade wind season (November to March), spend the day in our spa or just chill… Why Not! For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Qi Palawan.
Lagen Island has a total of 51 rooms that incorporate timber recycled from old Filipino homes for floors and furnishings to evoke charm and quiet luxury. Designed for maximum tranquility and calm, all rooms feature full-height sliding glass doors that open to a private veranda. There are 20 Forest Rooms located at the fringe of the forest; 4 Forest Suites are located at the upper level of the Forest Room Complex. Each Forest Suite has a floor area of 70sqm that can comfortably house three, and features a bath tub and twin vanities. There are 18 Water Cottages built on stilts above the water, and nine Beachfront Cottages with a panoramic view of the cove. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit El Nido Resorts Lagen Island.